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Moving Silently w. a Spike Chain

warpmind

First Post
I've just remembered one of my players who plays a rogue and is armed with a Chain Spike. Not a very subtle weapon. The main problem is that if he has to use Move Silently in order to get someone flat-footed, which penalties should I apply to the check. Didn't some wepons need to have a kind of check penalty for Move Silently? Anyway, which penalty should you apply? I think a -4 is fair.
 

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Zhure

First Post
"That'd be a house rule, Bob."

The only penalty is from encumbrance or armor, whichever is worse. A spiked chain is heavy and might push the character to a higher encumbrance level.

Spiked chain's aren't subtle? Then why can one use Weapon Finesse with them?

Greg
 

warpmind

First Post
Of course, I ask for a house rule. As far as I know there's nothing official written about this.

Don't you think really that chained weapons have to make it harder to move without being heard?

And well, the spiked chain is not the weapon I think an assassin would use to cut someone's throat. But that's a matter of taste, of personal opinion.
 

Jeremy

Explorer
Clarification, the one visual interpretation of the weapon in the pictoral of the PHB's equipment section is a very unsubtle somewhat brutal weapon well suited to a half orc.

But a spiked chain, or even a simple chain can be a very subtle and well concealed weapon. Methods can even be taken to silence them. :) Which if he is a sneaky rogue (a cutpurse, scout, or thief-taker) he has probably already taken care of in his training with the unusual weapon.

Or I could be totally wrong. :)
 

Jeremy

Explorer
warpmind said:
Of course, I ask for a house rule. As far as I know there's nothing official written about this.

Don't you think really that chained weapons have to make it harder to move without being heard?

And well, the spiked chain is not the weapon I think an assassin would use to cut someone's throat. But that's a matter of taste, of personal opinion.

Ah, but that's because it hasn't been represented well in enough movies. The dagger, the sword, the staff, they are all relatively unimaginative weapons that involve simple direct motions. In order to visualize or properly employ some other exotic weapons, more circular techniques that better capitolize on momentum, anatomical kinesthetics, and target pressure points or vital areas (throat, groin, eyes, knees, base of the skull, bridge of the nose) you have to think in more of a martial arts mindset.

While it may not be taught in some monastery somewhere, these weapons are not swing and hit weapons that require no training (else they would be simple or possibly martial weapons) these weapons are used in unusual fighting styles with exacting training that are best imagined after watching a few low plot/high action martial arts movies. :)

But trust me, a spiked chain can be a very effective assasination tool in a number of ways. It just requires significantly more practice and training to be used as anything but an unwieldy heavy rope that you just swing really hard.
 


kreynolds

First Post
warpmind said:
Of course, I ask for a house rule.

Then ask on the House Rules forum. You'll probably get more responses there anyways.

warpmind said:
As far as I know there's nothing official written about this.

That's because it's unnecessary, and kinda silly, to apply a penalty to moving silently. Bad idea.

warpmind said:
Don't you think really that chained weapons have to make it harder to move without being heard?

If they did, it would be in the weapon description.

Besides, I can personally attest that when you're sneaking up on someone from behind, and you have a chain wrapped around your wrist, with the end gripped tightly in your palm, which will allow you to lash out with the sucker like a whip with a simple release of your clenched hand, the poor bugger you're comin' up on will never hear you.

warpmind said:
And well, the spiked chain is not the weapon I think an assassin would use to cut someone's throat.

Maybe not. But it's a deadly weapon none the less, and that's all one needs.

warpmind said:
But that's a matter of taste, of personal opinion.

That's exactly right. You shouldn't impose your "personal taste" upon your players. That's bad form. Besides, a dagger is a piercing weapon, not slashing. So technically, in your game, a dagger would be a poor weapon to slash someone's throat with, but we all know that it works just fine.
 
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Bagpuss

Adventurer
As long as you maintain tension on the chain then the links won't make any additional noise by banging together. It wouldn't really be a stealthy weapon to use (unless you slip it over their neck and strangle them with it), but moving with it would not be a problem.
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
kreynolds said:

That's because it's unnecessary, and kinda silly, to apply a penalty to moving silently. Bad idea.

What is this?!? I agree with you twice in one day! What is the world coming to?? :eek:

I say stick with the Armor Check Penalties from the armor and encumbrance rules and do not worry about weapons or carried items.

You could nickel and dime PCs for that longsword scabbard dragging on the ground. Or for that holy symbol banging against a breastplate. Or for having a low Con and wheezing from being out of breathe. But it will make the game neither more fun nor more realistic.

IMHO, assume the character is highly competent and knows simple measures to make their skills work. Don't look for tiny mistakes on the part of the player in the hopes of dinging them with a circumstance penalty.

YMMV.
 

kreynolds

First Post
Ridley's Cohort said:
What is this?!? I agree with you twice in one day! What is the world coming to?? :eek:

Stranger things have happened. But what was the other thing you agreed with me on?

Ridley's Cohort said:
You could nickel and dime PCs for that longsword scabbard dragging on the ground. Or for that holy symbol banging against a breastplate. Or for having a low Con and wheezing from being out of breathe.

ROTFLMAO :D
 
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Forrester

First Post
It might be getting into too much detail, but you could house-rule it to give -2 to Move Silently.

Hell, by Official 3E Rules, a guy in Full Plate carrying a Tower Shield doesn't hide any better than a Great Gold Wyrm. A strong kobold carrying two or three Halberds doesn't get a penalty to his Hide check. And so on, and so forth. Pretty silly.

And by 3E rules, you don't get an Official Penalty to Move Silently if you're carrying a bucket of chain links. Or twelve bags of gold.

But you know what -- there's a fix for that. It's called a "circumstance penalty". And I applaud you if you decide to give them out to folks carrying clinky things, whether it's big bags of gold or big lengths of chain.

Lord knows they couldn't spell out every single situation where a circumstance penalty should be granted. That's the DM's job. I wouldn't even call it a "Rule 0".
 

kreynolds

First Post
Forrester said:
But you know what -- there's a fix for that. It's called a "circumstance penalty". And I applaud you if you decide to give them out to folks carrying clinky things, whether it's big bags of gold or big lengths of chain.

Lord knows they couldn't spell out every single situation where a circumstance penalty should be granted. That's the DM's job. I wouldn't even call it a "Rule 0".

And how ticked off would you get when a PC wore minimal gear, amounting to a weapon and a jumpsuit, and then suggested they should get a +10 circumstance bonus to all Dex related skills, which wouldn't be out of the question at all? Doesn't quite work in reverse either.
 

Forrester

First Post
+10 to dex checks? Um . . . yeah. Very realistic.

There is no "Does it work in reverse?" problem. The base saves, checks, etc. assume a "light load" or better (read: essentially unencumbered) individual. In other words, the guy with the jumpsuit and the weapon. For simplicity's sake, they don't give highly detailed Armor Check and Move Silently and Hide and Tumble, etc., penalties for every piece of gear Jumpsuit Boy could put on, because it'd just get too compliated.

Which leads to the situation where a Tower Shield gives -10 to both Tumble checks (makes sense) and Hide checks (doesn't make sense). And bags of coin don't "officially" affect Move Silently checks. And carry around big lengths of chain don't officially affect Move Silently checks.

Nevertheless, in many situations it makes sense for a DM to hand out circumstance penalties, if he so wishes, to fill in these holes. He doesn't have to let the uber-buff Orc with a 22 strength carry something that's big and bulky and unwieldly that weighs "only" 200lbs, just because the PHB says so. He doesn't have to let the guy carrying 100' of loose chain move as silently as his jumpsuited buddy. And so on. Circumstance penalties, baby. They're a DM's best friend . . . just like the DMG says :)
 

Shard O'Glase

First Post
You know I've agreed with virtually everthing forrester has posted since reading and agreeing with his elf diatribe. And here is no exception. Which sucks because I play a spiked chain wielding rogue.
 

kreynolds

First Post
Forrester said:
[BThere is no "Does it work in reverse?" problem. [/B]

Bet me. :) If you're gonna start spontaneously applying Move Silently penalties because someone is carrying a spiked chain, or a bag of gold, or a ring of keys, then you better start spontaneously applying Move Silently bonuses to someone that is carrying nothing.

Weight loads have nothing to do with the "noisy spiked chain move silently penalty" that you would apply. You want to apply the penalty because the chain is noisy. That implies that certain equipment makes more noise than other equipment. What equipment is the loudest? What equipment makes the least amount of noise? You need to figure that out before you just start dolling out penalties.

Game balance implies that for every positive, there is a negative. So, if carrying equipment hampers your ability to be silent, then carrying none wouldn't just bring your penalties down to 0, as it is very difficult to traverse a dungeon without the proper equipment. So, actually taking up the challenge to traverse through a dungeon with nothing but your dagger, though this may be suicidal and plain stupid, should grant you a bonus. Aside from the shuffling of your feet, there is nothing on your person that would cause any noise.
 
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Bonedagger

First Post
Bagpuss said:
As long as you maintain tension on the chain then the links won't make any additional noise by banging together. It wouldn't really be a stealthy weapon to use (unless you slip it over their neck and strangle them with it), but moving with it would not be a problem.

I agree.

You might need to fold the chain but as long as it is being held stretched it will probably make less sound than your breathing.

And not to forget. When it is being held stretched it contains a lot of potential energy for a quick swing.
 

LGodamus

First Post
when one thinks of a stealthy assassin from real history, most people think of ninja,correct? well, about one third of all weapons developed by shinobi have some sort of spiked or weighted chain,and I assure you they can all be carried quite stealthily, actually moreso than swords or other bladed weapons.
 

Ridley's Cohort

First Post
Forrester said:

There is no "Does it work in reverse?" problem. The base saves, checks, etc. assume a "light load" or better (read: essentially unencumbered) individual. In other words, the guy with the jumpsuit and the weapon. For simplicity's sake, they don't give highly detailed Armor Check and Move Silently and Hide and Tumble, etc., penalties for every piece of gear Jumpsuit Boy could put on, because it'd just get too compliated.

There is a reverse problem in that a DM who wants to nickel and dime a PC has to be fair and either give bonuses or/and spell out what are problem items.

The rules say that a character wearing silk pajamas and baby bottom soft slippers made from fetal calf skin gets the exact same ACP/encumbrance penalty for moving silently as the 17 Str adventurer wearing sturdy mountain boots & MW studded leather, carrying a bastard sword & longsword, and 300 gp of coin distributed into 3 belt pouches: zero.

Clearly the rules abstract out a lot. IMHO it is against the spirit of the rules to second guess the characters at the level of detail of different weapons they are carrying. If necessary, I am sure a Rogue would wrap the chain in silk. You don't have to quiz the player about what the character would be able to figure out on their own.

Obviously the DM can throw in lots of circumstance penalties if he wants. But I do not think it will make the game more fun.

One of the best pieces of advice in the DMG is the +/-2 rule. It basically said if a circumstance bonus was appropriate bump it up or down by 2. A 10% shift is pretty significant. What this means is the DM should hassle over the little stuff. If the rules do not spell it out already only tack on big effects to the roll.

IMHO the noice from a chain would be a small effect, zero if handled by someone skilled in stealth. YMMV.
 

Artoomis

First Post
I was sure I posted a note yesterday. Ah, well.

Basically, it is fine, and well within the rules, to apply a circumstance penalty of -2 (the DM's friend) for carrying a spiked chain that has not been "silenced" using some sort of small effort and expense.

This is true for carrying excessive equipment, too - pots and pans tend to clank when you walk. A penalty of even greater than -2 might be in order, though perhaps it's not worth worrying about, especially as rules already exist for armor check penalties for being excessively loaded down with "stuff."

On the other hand, rogues, who live and die by moving silently, would routinely take great pains to muffle anything on them that makes noise, and so I might not impose the penalty on them, except for equipment recently found that hasn't been "muffled" yet.

Back when I was "camping" with the US Army, it was routine for Rangers and other sneaky types to jump up and down to find out what clanked on them, and then silence it. Other, less sneaky types, like tankers and artillerymen, would never do such a thing, and would be laughed at if they did.
 

Forrester

First Post
It's just that I remember the Spiked Chain being both *thick* AND 10' in length. Perhaps I'm incorrect (I don't have the PHB in front of me). But if it is, I think it's going to be tough to carry silently, unless it's packed away in silk or cotton.
 

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